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Humayma Excavation Project, 1

Humayma Excavation Project, 1: Resources, History and the Water-Supply System

John Peter Oleson
G. E. Brown
M. Finnegan
J. D. Mitchell
C. Nikolic
C. T. Shay
Volume: 15
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 560
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  • Book Info
    Humayma Excavation Project, 1
    Book Description:

    Humayma, ancient Hawara, was the only significant settlement in the Hisma, the desert between Petra and Aqaba. Founded by a Nabataean king in the late first century B.C., the site flourished for 750 years as a Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Early Islamic settlement. In 25 years of survey and excavation, the author has recovered unique architectural and artifactual remains of all these cultures. In this final report volume, the first of four, he presents the topography and ecology of the region, the history of the site, and a detailed examination of the integrated water-supply system that made the settlement possible. A long synthetic chapter evaluates this system in the context of the water-supply technology of the ancient Near East. This book will be of interest to both students and scholars concerned with ancient hydraulic technology, the Nabataeans, the Romans in the Near East, early Byzantine culture, and the origins of the Abbasid family.

    eISBN: 978-0-89757-002-2
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xvii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. xix-xx)
    John Peter Oleson
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Chapter 1 Introduction: Project Objectives and Previous Field Work
    (pp. 1-20)

    When I first visited Humayma in June 1981, the site was difficult to reach, and the local Bedouin were uncertain about the reasons for our interest in the region (fig. 1.1). Even in 2005, nearly 20 years after the start of the Humayma Hydraulic Survey, the settlement centre and the approximately 234 sq km survey area remained relatively untouched by development. In 2008, the biggest threats were the spread of open-pit silica mines in the hills of Disi sandstone east of the site and the development of a military installation and royal palace to the west. The Qa Disi to...

  8. Chapter 2 Territory, Resources, and History
    (pp. 21-62)

    Humayma is located in the desert region now termed the Hisma or Wadi Hisma (“canyon land,” in Arabic), approximately equidistant along a straight line between Petra, 45 km to the north, and Aqaba, 55 km to the southwest (fig. 2.1). This region is also referred to as the Disi-Rum Highlands (Bender 1974: 9) and is part of the Southern Mountain Desert (Macumber 2001: 3, 17–19). The site benchmark at the northeast corner of the rebuilt Nabataean reservoir in the centre of the settlement (Structure no. 67) is at an elevation of approximately 965 m; the coordinates are (UTM) 36R...

  9. Chapter 3 The Regional Water-Supply System: Catalogue of Structures Outside the Settlement
    (pp. 63-172)

    The catalogue of the elements of the water-supply system presented in Chapters 3 and 4 is intended to document the structures observed, studied, and — occasionally — excavated during our surveys in 1983, 1986–87, and 1989. The detail with which the structures have been recorded may seem obsessive, particularly for the aqueduct, but in fact full and accurate analysis of water systems depends on careful observation of details. Such detail has very seldom been provided for Nabataean hydraulic structures, which unfortunately are singularly vulnerable to damage or total destruction. I hope that the data presented here will allow future...

  10. Chapter 4 The Water-Supply System in the Settlement Centre: Catalogue of Structures
    (pp. 173-230)

    This chapter presents a catalogue of the elements of Hawara’s water-supply system found in the settlement centre proper or in its immediate vicinity (within 500 m of Reservoir no. 67). Although the aqueduct enters the settlement, it is described in Chapter 3. The reservoir in the Roman fort (no. 62) is 510 m from Reservoir no. 67, but it is included in this chapter because the fort is clearly part of the settlement centre. This catalogue is organised as far as possible according to the hierarchy of the system itself: major reservoirs or pools fed by the aqueduct and by...

  11. Chapter 5 Descriptions of Probes: 1986–1987, 1989
    (pp. 231-326)

    During the 1986 survey, several sites along the aqueduct and at major reservoirs and cisterns within the settlement centre were selected for the excavation of probes in 1987. Particular emphasis was placed on probes that might clarify the design, chronology, and function of the aqueduct (Structure no. 1), reservoir in the fort (Reservoir no. 62), pool at the end of the aqueduct (Reservoir no. 63), two major covered reservoirs in the settlement centre (Reservoirs nos. 67 and 68), one cylindrical and one domed domestic cistern (Cisterns nos. 54 and 72), and the dam (Structure no. 44) south of the habitation...

  12. Chapter 6 Catalogue of Registered Artefacts and Laboratory Analyses
    (pp. 327-362)

    This chapter presents the finds from the 1986 and 1987 surveys and from the excavations in 1989 — with the exception of the finds from the bath, which will be presented along with that structure in a future volume. A summary analysis of the ceramic wares appears in Section B.1, while the small collection of registered ceramic artefacts is catalogued in B.2. The unregistered ceramic finds have been presented in summary fashion along with the relevant probe reports in Chapter 5. Analyses of the non-ceramic artefacts and catalogues of the registered non-ceramic artefacts follow in Section C, organised by material...

  13. Chapter 7 Reconstruction of the Water-Supply System
    (pp. 363-416)

    At the moment when the founder of Hawara — whether Aretas III or Aretas IV — stood blinking in the desert sun after his vision of a white camel had led him to the site, some characteristics of the landscape must have convinced him that the divine guidance was based on an appreciation of practical human advantages, particularly concerning potential water-supply. Whether divine guidance or human scouting was involved, the advantages of the site are obvious to those who know the desert. Regional patterns of precipitation across the kingdom undoubtedly were common knowledge among the Nabataeans, and a glance at...

  14. Chapter 8 The Hawara Water-Supply System in the Context of the Ancient Near East
    (pp. 417-492)

    The archaeological and textual evidence presented in the previous chapters provides a remarkably detailed and, very likely, nearly complete picture of the water-supply system that served ancient Hawara. Where clarification or explanation was needed, I cited examples of hydraulic structures at other ancient sites, but I did not attempt a thorough review of archaeological parallels. This chapter is reserved for a more detailed examination of the techniques and structures that constituted Nabataean hydraulic technology, in particular as they are seen working within coordinated urban and/or rural water-supply systems. I will review some of the well-preserved systems that served a variety...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 493-520)
  16. Index
    (pp. 521-526)